Hydrofracking input due this week

The high-pressure hydraulic-fracturing natural gas drilling method fuels strong emotions in those for and against it in New York, where this Wednesday marks something of a milestone: Jan. 11 will be the last day for the public to submit comments to the state regarding the issue.

While fracking trucks won’t be rolling in Jan. 12 — state Department of Environmental Conservation officials say they won’t begin issuing permits until they determine fracking can be done safely — the deadline is significant. After several years of a statewide moratorium on fracking — a method that blasts millions of gallons of water containing chemicals deep underground to release natural gas — the state is poised to approve the technique, albeit under what state officials promise will be tight regulations to safeguard the environment.

Proponents point to economic benefits such as the tax revenue municipalities can expect and much-needed job creation. Opponents say fracking poses health and environmental concerns that make it too risky.

Those concerned fracking will do more harm than good locally say they count on the DEC taking their comments seriously — and taking a cautious and thorough approach.

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